Waterford’s Munster treble dream dashed by Rebels

Waterford 0-10

Cork 1-20

By Dermot Keyesat Walsh Park

Waterford’s provincial treble dream was put to the sword by an excellent Cork unit, much to the disappointment of the 6,000-plus crowd that flocked to Walsh Park on Wednesday night.

The prospect of adding the Under 21 title to the senior and intermediate crowns already secured drew a fine attendance to Keane’s Road on an overcast evening.

But within 15 minutes of the throw-in, it was clear that Cork’s greater quality would prove too much for a Waterford side who never really got to grips with their opposition.

Cathal Naughton, whose late goal in last year’s senior semi final broke Deise hearts, led the way for Cork, firing home 1-4 from play. Waterford, by contrast, could manage only four points from play over the hour.

Twelve minutes in, Waterford’s Pa Kearney worked his way toward goal, one only two such goalscoring opportunities the team managed by Greg Fives engineered during the game.

But advancing Cork goalkeeper Ken O’Halloran broke Kearney’s forward momentum and swept the ball away to safety.

Three minutes later, Naughton fired the ball beyond Darren Ryan following an excellent hand pass from Eoghan Murphy to put Cork four points ahead. By half-time, despite two late points from Waterford’s Richie Foley and Kearney, Cork led by five.

After the interval, Cork again came out of the traps with the greater pep in their step, firing over three early scores without reply through Adrian Mannix, Cathal Naughton and commanding centre-back Eoghan Cadogan.

Waterford’s Ross O’Keeffe was denied what looked like a certain goal in the 34th minute due to a brilliant hook from Cadogan, a senior football panellist. And that, unfortunately, was to prove the last occasion in which Waterford would get within striking distance of a clinical Cork side.

Thanks to midfielder Mark O’Gorman’s free-taking accuracy, Waterford reached double figures on the scoreboard during their first Munster Under 21 final appearance since 1994. But Cork proved far too good on the night and deservedly clinched a record-equalling 18th title at this grade.

Waterford: D Ryan; J Maher, J Kindregan, T Power; C Ryan, M Gaffney, R Foley (0-1); J O’Farrell, M Gorman (0-6 [0-5f, 0-1 65]; M Fives, K Moran (0-1), S Walsh; S Casey, R O’Keeffe, P Kearney (0-2).

Subs: P Hurney for M Gaffney (38 mins), K Landers for R O’Keeffe (57 mins).

Cork: K O’Halloran; J O’Callaghan, E Dillon, C O’Driscoll; S O’Neill, E Cadogan (0-2 [0-1f]), A Ryan; L Desmond (0-3), A Mannix (0-3); P Cronin (0-2f), K Canty (0-1), C Naughton (1-4); P Horgan (0-2), E Murphy (0-1), C O’Neill (0-2).

Subs: J Halbert for Horgan (51 mins), M Walsh for P Cronin (58 mins), S White for S O’Neill (60 mins), B Corry for C O’Neill (60 mins).

Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary)

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